Article for teens-- feedback please!

For discussion of general issues pertaining to asexuality.
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ily
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Article for teens-- feedback please!

Postby ily » Thu Mar 13, 2008 8:30 pm

So, I found an article in "Seventeen" magazine called "Could I be gay?", and thought I could write a similar piece about asexuality, and probably do a better job as well. ;) So, I wrote it, and I want to submit it to various websites that deal with informing teens about sex. I'm pasting it below, and would really appreciate your feedback. Anything from language and grammar to general content is fair game:
PS-- Yes, I'm aware that the end of my question #4 response sounds like the opener to "Little People, Big World" :lol: Also, I'd love to get a recommendation for a 3rd resource. You know, symmetry.

Could I Be Asexual?
By Ily

In a society where we're pre-conditioned to be heterosexual, it's a healthy and normal thing to question your sexuality. But that doesn't mean it's not scary or confusing, especially when your orientation might be one that's lesser-known, like asexual. Asexuals are people that aren't attracted to either sex, and studies have shown that they're at least one percent of the population. Asexuality is just as valid an orientation as being gay, straight, or bi, but can be a little harder to figure out. The simplest advice I can offer? Remember that there are no absolutes when it comes to sexuality, and don't rush to label yourself just because you feel pressured to do so. Now, here are some common questions:


1. I've never had a crush on anyone. Could I be gay, or am I asexual?

Maybe you’re not just the kind of person who gets crushes; perhaps you’re too practical for all that sighing and giggling. Think not about whether you have a “crush”, but whether you’ve ever been attracted to someone. If this has never happened and you’re, say, 13, I honestly wouldn’t worry about it too much. Your inclinations could still change a lot in the next few years. But if you’re 18 or 19 and have not experienced attraction, you may want to consider that you could be asexual…or very, very, picky.

2. My friends are always saying that this or that girl is hot, but I just don't understand what they're talking about. What's up with that?

You have a few options: Either your friends have different tastes in girls than you do, you’re not into girls at all, or you’re not into girls or guys. If we’re just talking about probabilities here, being asexual is probably the least likely option—but, it is still an option. I know that many asexual people have had the same experience as you. But whether or not the label fits is something only you can decide.


3. I had sex with my boyfriend, but I just found it boring. Is there something wrong with me?

Everyone tells us how exciting sex is, but what no one seems to mention is how hard it can be to find a partner you’re really compatible with. The most likely answer is that you’re not as into your boyfriend as you thought you were. Sex is so hyped-up that it can be natural to feel a little disappointed if the experience isn’t what you hoped it would be. Sex can get more interesting as we get older and more aware of our bodies. But, if you think your relationship would be terrific without the sex, maybe asexuality is something for you to explore further.

4. How can I know if I'm asexual or just have issues?

If you’re depressed, have low self-esteem, were abused, or have survived any number of difficulties, you may be wondering if these are the reasons you’re not interested in sex, or if you’re actually asexual. Well, that’s a good question to be asking. Depression or abuse doesn’t cause asexuality, but asexuals are just as likely to deal with these things as anyone else is. If you’re dealing with issues like this, you already know that you have many things to figure out. Know that many asexuals are depressed because they feel isolated, or worry that they will never have relationships or family. Remember that you are not alone, and that asexuals can achieve anything they want to—it just may take a little longer.

Get support:
asexuality.org: The Asexuality Visibility and Education Network is the largest and busiest asexual forum online. It’s a great place to tell your story, and no matter where your mind is at, you’re sure to find like-minded people.

apositive.org: These free-spirited theorists are on a mission to compile all known information about asexuality—a great place to find information!

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Mysteria
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Re: Article for teens-- feedback please!

Postby Mysteria » Thu Mar 13, 2008 11:56 pm

Sounds pretty good to me! :D

One thing you might want to consider adding: a little bit about the history of the term "asexual," perhaps? Considering where we stand with visibility at this point, I think you might lose a good portion of your audience in the first paragraph if you don't go into a little more detail to explain.

I can tell you based this article off one from a women's magazine, lol. Just from the way it's broken up into questions and answers. It follows the typical pattern of creating a dilemma for the reader, and seeming to resolve it, but not really. Of course it makes more sense to do that with this subject than with most of the subjects typically found in women's magazines, since you really can't answer for someone whether they're asexual or not... But I worry that it would create too much insecurity left as is. Perhaps adding a fifth question to the effect of "I think I am asexual. Now what?" and going on to explain that it's perfectly possible to lead a happy asexual life, have asexual relationships or mixed relationships if they want to, connect with other asexuals via AVEN, etc. Aside from alleviating some of the anxiety potentially caused by the 4th question, it would also provide a nice transition to the links.

Hope that helped! And once again, good job! :mrgreen:

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ily
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Re: Article for teens-- feedback please!

Postby ily » Fri Mar 14, 2008 6:40 pm

Thank you! That 5th question is a very good idea...

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cijay
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Re: Article for teens-- feedback please!

Postby cijay » Tue Mar 18, 2008 9:01 pm

ily wrote:So, I found an article in "Seventeen" magazine called "Could I be gay?", and thought I could write a similar piece about asexuality, and probably do a better job as well. ;) So, I wrote it, and I want to submit it to various websites that deal with informing teens about sex. I'm pasting it below, and would really appreciate your feedback. Anything from language and grammar to general content is fair game:
PS-- Yes, I'm aware that the end of my question #4 response sounds like the opener to "Little People, Big World" :lol: Also, I'd love to get a recommendation for a 3rd resource. You know, symmetry.

Could I Be Asexual?
By Ily

In a society where we're pre-conditioned to be heterosexual, it's a healthy and normal thing to question your sexuality. But that doesn't mean it's not scary or confusing, especially when your orientation might be one that's lesser-known, like asexual. Asexuals are people that aren't attracted to either sex, and studies have shown that they're at least one percent of the population. Asexuality is just as valid an orientation as being gay, straight, or bi, but can be a little harder to figure out. The simplest advice I can offer? Remember that there are no absolutes when it comes to sexuality, and don't rush to label yourself just because you feel pressured to do so. Now, here are some common questions:


1. I've never had a crush on anyone. Could I be gay, or am I asexual?

Maybe you’re not just the kind of person who gets crushes; perhaps you’re too practical for all that sighing and giggling. Think not about whether you have a “crush”, but whether you’ve ever been attracted to someone. If this has never happened and you’re, say, 13, I honestly wouldn’t worry about it too much. Your inclinations could still change a lot in the next few years. But if you’re 18 or 19 and have not experienced attraction, you may want to consider that you could be asexual…or very, very, picky.

2. My friends are always saying that this or that girl is hot, but I just don't understand what they're talking about. What's up with that?

You have a few options: Either your friends have different tastes in girls than you do, you’re not into girls at all, or you’re not into girls or guys. If we’re just talking about probabilities here, being asexual is probably the least likely option—but, it is still an option. I know that many asexual people have had the same experience as you. But whether or not the label fits is something only you can decide.


3. I had sex with my boyfriend, but I just found it boring. Is there something wrong with me?

Everyone tells us how exciting sex is, but what no one seems to mention is how hard it can be to find a partner you’re really compatible with. The most likely answer is that you’re not as into your boyfriend as you thought you were. Sex is so hyped-up that it can be natural to feel a little disappointed if the experience isn’t what you hoped it would be. Sex can get more interesting as we get older and more aware of our bodies. But, if you think your relationship would be terrific without the sex, maybe asexuality is something for you to explore further.

4. How can I know if I'm asexual or just have issues?

If you’re depressed, have low self-esteem, were abused, or have survived any number of difficulties, you may be wondering if these are the reasons you’re not interested in sex, or if you’re actually asexual. Well, that’s a good question to be asking. Depression or abuse doesn’t cause asexuality, but asexuals are just as likely to deal with these things as anyone else is. If you’re dealing with issues like this, you already know that you have many things to figure out. Know that many asexuals are depressed because they feel isolated, or worry that they will never have relationships or family. Remember that you are not alone, and that asexuals can achieve anything they want to—it just may take a little longer.

Get support:
asexuality.org: The Asexuality Visibility and Education Network is the largest and busiest asexual forum online. It’s a great place to tell your story, and no matter where your mind is at, you’re sure to find like-minded people.

apositive.org: These free-spirited theorists are on a mission to compile all known information about asexuality—a great place to find information!



It looks great! With #2 though, would you use 'options' as a word of choice? I try to get the point across that my asexuality isn't optional. Do you mean 'possibilities'? Also, I always like to (you may not) suggest that there is nothing wrong with mentioning your lack of sexual attraction to a professional if it bothers you. It is a bit of a hazard because many professionals want to throw you on pills or dissect your brain or even brainwash you into thinking that you're abnormal and change your attitude but I think questioning people should know that if they have a good working relationship with a doctor etc that there's nothing wrong with seeking opinions from all sides. Professionals (people who are 'educated' in the study) or professors (people who live it).

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ily
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Re: Article for teens-- feedback please!

Postby ily » Wed Mar 19, 2008 11:55 am

Thanks for that, Cijay-- "possibilities" is indeed a better word to use there. And I agree with your point on professionals as well (I've had pretty good experiences myself, but that could be 'cause I live in San Francisco), so I will see if there's a natural place to fit it in.

chlirissa
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Re: Article for teens-- feedback please!

Postby chlirissa » Tue Apr 29, 2008 4:55 pm

First Off i want to plug the magazine sex etc.. if you are under 20 because they pay young people for contributions and are the only all teen run magazine about sex.

As far as the article goes I second the idea of the 5th question (I think this is the hardest question to answer, and I still struggle with it a lot) and of finding a place to define asex early on in the article. Perhaps an anecdote or something about your discovery of your own asexuality may give the article a more personal touch that could make it more accessible (that's more of a style point than content).

It's important to mention that in the first question, one could read it as putting being gay and being asexual in mutually exclusive categories. It's important to note that someone can feel romantic attraction towards members of the same gender without it being sexual. You can, in fact, be both gay/bi/trans and asex.

Also, not to pick at words but the question that specifies boyfriend bothers me for two reasons 1) it presumes heterosexuality in a male partner, the word "partner" is gender nuetral and 2) it may alienate people whose sexual experiences have taken place outside of the context of a longterm relationship

All in all, I wish you good luck, and thanks for taking the initiative.

Chlirissa